One of the things I love about being a multi-campus church is that I get to work with four great brothers, the lead pastors at each of our campuses around the Louisville area. Over the next month I hope you’ll join me as I talk about family, life and pastoring with each of these four men. Today we begin with Chad Lewis, pastor of Sojourn Midtown:
Pastor Daniel: When I first met you I said you were the “Young, Reformed version of Rich Mullins.” I love your music and I always enjoyed when you lead worship. Can you talk some about your transition from worship leading to being a campus pastor?
Pastor Chad: During my ordination council some years ago, one of the pastors who had known me for a while asked me if I am a singer who preaches or a preacher who sings. I thought for a while and answered the latter. Though music will always be a part of my life, my longing to teach, shepherd through counseling and care, and equip the saints for works of service is truly my heart’s cry. So at the end of the day, the transition was natural and I feel extremely blessed to serve as a campus pastor at Sojourn.
Pastor Daniel: Not long after you came on staff, you were stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome. I tell everyone that you are our strongest pastor but also the most afflicted. Talk about your journey and how you function with this illness.
Pastor Chad: It’s interesting to track the progress of my illness now that I’m four years in. In the first year and a half, I was literally crushed and it is a miracle that I made it as long as I did. At that point of crises, my pastors (with you helping to lead the charge) forced me to take a 5-week sabbatical.
It was during those times of complete unplugging that God did an amazing work in my life. God set me free to embrace more my identity in Him and embrace the gift of limits. From that point, I came back and whittled my life down to work at Sojourn and family. That was an amazing and life-giving decision and I’ve been rolling by God’s grace ever since. 2 Corinthians has been one of my best friends in the last few years. Paul writes in the first chapter,
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”
In a small but profound way, I was crushed beyond my ability to endure but as a result, I have learned a bit more what it means to walk moment by moment depending on God’s strength and not my own.
Pastor Daniel: Everyone on the Midtown Campus staff raves about your staff culture. Can you share your secrets? What are some of the ways you lead and influence the culture of your staff?
Pastor Chad: One year ago, Pastor Nathan Ivey and I locked ourselves in an office for four hours to seek God’s face and see what God might be doing in our hearts to create a culture of change. From that brief meeting, God moved in amazing ways. We came up with a cheesy acronym and still use it weekly in our staff meetings. ATTACC is the word on our lips that stands for:
- A- Acceptance
We literally “ATTACC” each other in the meetings and throughout the week. The T for Teamwork has been huge. As any church gets big, silos in ministries naturally begin to form. Ever since last summer’s VBS, we have seen a servant hearted nature take over where we have “all hands on deck” to serve different aspects of ministry.We recently had a huge need for Sojourn Kids workers on Easter so pastors Nathan Ivey and Robert Cheong jumped in to teach that Sunday. As word spread tons of Sojourn members jumped in to help as well.
In addition to this, I supply each of our staff with a book we slowly read through so we can be learning and growing together. Thus far we have read A Praying Life, Trusting God, and Gilead in the last year. We have grown by living life and serving each other.
Pastor Daniel: You are our only campus pastor without an iPhone. What’s up with that?
Pastor Chad: Well, four plus years ago I had the first iPhone. As a real tangible way to love my wife and family, I decided to downgrade from a data plan to a bare bones flip phone. It’s stuck ever since. I actually have to keep taping on the back of my phone because it keeps falling off. However, don’t be surprised if you notice a smart phone the next time you see me. I’m about to upgrade from 2006 to 2012.